Home » Announcements

Gettysburg College students will walk on Thursday

The First-Year Walk, a Gettysburg College tradition that witnesses the incoming first-year class travel through the community to the site of Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, will take place on on Thursday evening. About 800 students and staff will walk from the campus to the National Cemetery, beginning at about 6:30 p.m.

“Gettysburg College is a very vibrant and important part of our community,” said Gettysburg Mayor Rita Frealing. “I am honored to be participate in this year’s First-Year Walk and I want to congratulate the Class of 2026.  Congratulations on entering college, a big step in your life’s course. And remember as members of the Gettysburg community, my door and ear are also available to you.”

The campus ensemble will use South Washington Street to make its way to the National Cemetery on the south side of town. After hearing opening remarks from College President Bob Iuliano, students and staff will depart from Christ Chapel on campus and move down Carlisle Street into Lincoln Square. The crowd will then exit west onto Chambersburg Street before resuming the trek south on Washington Street.

The walk will continue down South Washington Street and cross over the intersection with Steinwehr Avenue to Taneytown Road. Students will pass the National Cemetery and enter a small field south of the parking lot adjacent to the Leister Farm House, site of Union General George Meade’s headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg.

At the cemetery, the students will listen to a rendition of Lincoln’s famous speech and keynote remarks by McKinley Melton, the Kermit O. Paxton and Renee A. Paxton Endowed Teaching Chair and associate professor of English. Mayor Frealing will welcome the new members of the community and continue another time-honored tradition of giving the key to the city of Gettysburg to a representative of the first-year class. This year’s recipient is Gettysburg High School graduate Tiger Frenette.

Following the ceremony, the gathering will cross over Taneytown Road and walk through the National Cemetery alongside the final resting places of more than 3,500 soldiers from the Civil War and thousands of other soldiers from other American conflicts. Breaking up into smaller groups, students and staff will make their way back through town on sidewalks, giving the newcomers an opportunity to engage with the community and visit local businesses along the way.

“The First-Year Walk is one of our most cherished traditions,” said Iuliano. “From our students’ earliest moments on campus, they gain a deeper understanding of our history and how President Lincoln’s enduring Address continues to guide us today. In many ways, the First-Year Walk represents the very best of what it means to live and learn in this remarkable community. It is a truly moving event.”

Tell your friends
We'd value your comments on or questons about this post. Please leave one below or send us a note. Your participation makes Gettysburg Connection a community publication.
  • It would be nice if they also learned about Thaddeus Stevens, who helped to establish their school and abolish slavery.

  • >